Apr 04 AT 6:00 PM Dima Aryeh 10 Comments

Automatic app comes to Android, will help you drive efficiently if you buy $99.99 hardware

Automatic app

Every vehicle since 1996 has featured the standardized OBD II diagnostics port, at least here in the US. This port offers amazing functionality that can improve your life as a home mechanic significantly. But other than the mechanic or DIYer, the port didn’t really serve the regular user. The Automatic app aims to change that.

The Automatic app has been available for iOS for a while now, but has finally come to Android. Paired with the Automatic Link (a generic OBD II Bluetooth dongle in a fancy casing), this app will collect data from your car and smartphone and will aim to help you drive better. Whenever you brake too hard, accelerate too fast, or go over 70 MPH, it beeps and tells you. And before anyone mentions it, yes you can turn off the speeding warning separately. But all of this helps you drive more efficiently and save gas, with claims of being able to save hundreds of dollars a year by adjusting your driving style.

Using this data, the app gives you a driving score showing you your efficiency. It also features a trip logger, a check engine light code scanner, and it will remember where you parked. It’s a pretty impressive feature set that won’t particularly appeal to the mechanically inclined, but can help regular people drive better.

However, there is a catch. You need to buy the Automatic Link for $100, or else the app won’t work. As someone who has been using a $15 generic OBD II Bluetooth dongle with the (incredibly powerful) Torque app for monitoring such things, that’s far too steep a price for a proprietary device. In general, the generic dongle and Torque app combination can do almost anything, but it’s nowhere near as simple and user friendly as the Automatic app is for simple things like tracking efficiency. But if you like to tinker, get Torque.

It’s still nice that this app has been released on Android, even if it’s something I could never justify buying due to its overpriced and proprietary nature. It’s great for regular people who don’t need a full live data scanner, instead just wanting some feedback on driving and saving fuel. Hit the widget to download the app, where you can buy the dongle, and watch the video for a demonstration of how it works. And car guys, what do you think of Automatic?

 

Via: Android Central

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • 99steven

    I think it’s neat, but for a 100 bucks, I don’t need something to tell me I’m breaking too hard or accelerating too much, I already know, I choose to do it at that particular time. And really who needs another back seat driver.

  • Buck

    If it could deliver the odometer reading to the software (TripLog) that I use to keep track of my automobile business use, it is worth two times the $100.

  • Bart

    And I thought I was being OCD because i log every gas-fill in a spreadsheet to monitor gas mileage and other stats.

    But coming back to the article, Dima, I don’t remember seeing an article from you about the app that you mentioned you are currently using. That might interest some here.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      I log every gas fill as well! You should give aCar a try, it’s quite ugly but it works great. Allows you to log fuel ups, repairs, costs, etc and calculates your gas mileage and gives graphs for the data you enter.

      Torque? Yeah a write up on that is actually a good idea, thank you. I’ll have to get started on that sometime.

  • Dave Brier

    I bought this way back when it was pre selling for $69. I was using it with the iphone 5 at the time. I was waiting patiently for the Android version to be released. In the interim another product was introduced called DASH. It doesn’t need a proprietary OBD dongle and will work with the generic ones. It does pretty much what the Automatic app does but with a little less polish. DASH support is very responsive too. Overall, I love torque but you definitely need to tinker with it to provide you with the data you want.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      Torque is a very advanced app, it took me a long time to fully figure it out. Far from polished, but super powerful. Could you link me to DASH? I’d love to try it.

      • goldenboyrb

        https://dash.by/

        from what the website claims, yes it looks like it does what Automatic can do, on the cheap side. app is free too (possibility of in app purchase, not so sure). but happy with what torque is doing. and yes it’s a very advanced app, i haven’t fully figure it just yet, but that’s an app that every driver should have.

        • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

          Thanks buddy, I’ll be giving it a shot!

  • donger

    Interesting.

  • goldenboyrb

    tried Automatic for a day on beta mode. felt that it was a rip off. returned it the next day. bought a generic OBD bluetooth on eBay for $10, a dash mount for $20, and torque app for $5. never looked back. super happy with it.

    I see how Automatic can be worth your money, if the on-star like feature kicked in. other than that.. torque or something similar is way more than enough